Most women (between 75 and 90 per cent) get stretch marks (also called striae gravidarum) when they are pregnant. Stretch marks are caused by the skin stretching as you gain weight in pregnancy. They usually appear as pinkish (or sometimes red) lines on your abdomen, legs, thighs and hips. You may believe you have avoided them, and then find that they appear suddenly in the last week or two before your baby is born.
What can I do to prevent stretch marks?Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do. Gaining no more than the recommended amount of weight — in most cases, 25 to 35 pounds — and gaining it slowly may reduce your chances of getting stretch marks.
- Eat a healthy well balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Rapid weight gain is a common cause of stretch marks and is unhealthy for you and your baby. Eating right during pregnancy can help you keep your weight gain under control. Talk with your doctor about how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy. Just because you are eating for two doesn't mean that you have permission to overdo it. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin well hydrated and pliable.
- Take your pre natal vitamins. Your body needs extra vitamins and minerals at this time so taking your vitamins will supplement those needs. It will also help you develop beautiful skin and hair during your pregnancy.
- Another way to avoid stretch marks is to use creams that contain vitamin E or cocoa butter. Massage these creams onto your skin where stretch marks are forming. The massaging action itself can increase blood flow to that area and diminish visible stretch marks. There are plenty of creams on the market that claim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. You might want to try several to see what works for you.